Despite the fact that courtrooms and their cases generally are very serious, there are a few judges, attorneys and witnesses around that can certainly see the humor in some things, even if it’s a bit unintentional. In any case, it makes for some pretty good comedy.
Charles M. Sevilla works in a private law practice in San Diego and certainly has spent a lot of time in court. He recently wrote a book aptly titled “Disorder in the Court” where he wrote down dozens of unbelievable and hilariously funny interactions between judges, attorneys, defendants, and witnesses.
The author describes his book as a “collection of verbatim exchanges from the halls of justice” to form “memorably insane comedy”.
How memorable, you might ask? Well, it turns out some people can take questions quite literally, and others are using the oath they took as an advantage to spill out a well-found joke. In the heat of the moment, lawyers may also be asking some weird questions which often lead to confusion coupled with laughter.
Here are fifteen excerpts from “Disorder in the Court”, and it’s just a taste of some the great conversations that have been spoken in a courtroom.
1) Some things just aren’t straightforward enough
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death…
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
2) Using the oath as a perfect reason to make a joke
LAWYER: Now sir, I’m sure you are an intelligent and honest man–
WITNESS: Thank you. If I weren’t under oath, I’d return the compliment.
3) Some questions are just too complicated
LAWYER: When he went, had you gone and had she, if she wanted to and were able, for the time being excluding all the restraints on her not to go, gone also, would he have brought you, meaning you and she, with him to the station?
OTHER LAWYER: Objection. That question should be taken out and shot.
4) There’s never a reason not to make a pun
LAWYER: Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?
WITNESS: No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.
5) Taking responses too literally
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
6) To be fair, those headlights are pretty flashy
LAWYER: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
LAWYER: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
WITNESS: Yes, sir.
LAWYER: What did she say?
WITNESS: ‘What disco am I at?’
7) Everything is possible
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
8) I don’t think that’s how memory works
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
9) Some people just simply aren’t good with numbers
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
10) Technically, it’s not wrong, which is the best type of being right
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
11) That one must’ve hurt…
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.
12) Details matter
LAWYER: Any suggestions as to what prevented this from being a murder trial instead of an attempted murder trial?
WITNESS: The victim lived.
13) This seems like a trick question
LAWYER: You were there until the time you left, is that true?
14) Using the right to remain silent isn’t always the brightest idea
LAWYER: Did you ever stay all night with this man in New York?
WITNESS: I refuse to answer that question.
LAWYER: Did you ever stay all night with this man in Chicago?
WITNESS: I refuse to answer that question.
LAWYER: Did you ever stay all night with this man in Miami?
15) This is when you need to switch attorneys
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
Be sure to check out “Disorder in Court” for more funny court stories.
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